located on top of a valley on the outskirts of tokyo, the terasaki house by ryue nishizawa is defined by its roof. the plan, which takes advantage of the site’s unique and favorable conditions, features a single-story house with a courtyard. placed on top of the rooms and the courtyard, the roof creates an open space where the indoors extend to the courtyard and beyond.

ryue nishizama shapes terasaki house around massive roof in japan
all images by office of ryue nishizawa



designed by ryue nishizawa, the terasaki house boasts a roof shaped in an elongated strip along the narrow site that stretches to the north and south. however, instead of placing a single large roof, the team designed it so that it curves and bends into a shape that is different from a single gabled or sloping roof, and gently envelops the indoors with a warm atmosphere. the design also integrates both shadow and light in the indoor spaces by capturing light through the openings of the roof.

ryue nishizama shapes terasaki house around massive roof in japan



‘these attributes peculiar to roof-based architecture like the terasaki house can be commonly observed in traditional japanese buildings,’ commented ryue nishizawa on an interview. ‘for example, if we approach the toshodaiji in nara, at first we can see its roof from a distance, but as we move closer to it, its roof falls out of sight at a certain point, and we instead begin to see the underside of its eaves. weʼre still outside the building at this point, but this visual shift makes us aware that we have entered the realm of the architecture.’

ryue nishizawa shapes terasaki house around massive roof in japan



‘if we continue onwards and step into the space beneath the eaves, we gain a heightened sense of being inside the building even though weʼre not inside its main hall yet,’ nishizawa adds. ‘in this way, a roof can create a layered boundary and shape an approach sequence that enables us to gradually enter inside by passing through various intermediate realms as opposed to transitioning abruptly from the outside to the inside. this makes roof-based architecture interesting because it can merge the inside with the outside and connect a building to nature.’


overall, the design of the terasaki house is to create a comfortable living space protected by its framework, with a sense of transparency that continues into the structure’s fertile surrounding context.



project info:


name: terasaki house

architect: office of ryue nishizawa

location: kanagawa, japan

year: 2011-2014